tv CNN Newsroom CNN November 14, 2010 4:00am-5:00am EST
>> two suspects whose actions were beyond brutal. >> he swung the bat as hard as he could. before they tied anybody up, before the fire was set, joshua tried to kill dr. petit on the couch. >> reporter: i'm randy kaye in cheshire, connecticut. tonight, a cnn special report. what happened to a wife, a husband and their two daughters in a home that became a house of horror and terror? "pure evil, the killings in connecticut." for the petit family in this quiet connecticut suburb, there was never any hint of the violence that was to come. >> the epitome of the all-american family. a beautiful mother and two beautiful daughters. >> reporter: never any clue
their vibrant home on this road in the town of cheshire would soon become a house of horrors. their last day together as a family was a classic summer sunday. dr. william petit, a prominent connecticut doctor, a leading expert in the field of diabetes played golf with his dad. earlier that day, his wife of 22 years, jennifer hawke-petit, and her daughter, michaela, 11, had gone grocery shopping at this stop & shop supermarket. >> the younger daughter was going to make a special dinner for her family. so she and mrs. petit went to the stop & shop here in town. >> reporter: the older daughter, hayley just graduated from a prestigious prep school. she wanted to be a doctor like her dad. as jennifer hawke-petit, a pediatric nurse, drove back from the supermarket, she had no idea she was being watched.
watched, police say, by two career criminals paroled from prison just weeks before. within hours, their worlds would collide. >> i often liken it to what armies do to countries when they take over, raping and pillaging and that's kind of what happens in that house. >> reporter: the two men allegedly walking mrs. hawke-petit and her daughter are joshua komisarjevsky and steven hayes. between them, they've been arrested nearly 50 times. on hayes' rap sheet, illegal possession of a firearm, burglary and forgery. komisarjevsky, 30, has a criminal past that includes 20 arrests for burglary and larceny. a connecticut judge once called him a cold, calculating predator. he started breaking into homes
at 13 but rarely stole anything, reportedly just listened to the sounds of the sleeping family and paged through family photos. brian mcdonald wrote a book about this case and received 20 letters from komisarjevsky. >> his parents are fervent christians and everything about his early life was about his christianity. he was part of this -- the christian brigade which is like the boy scouts but yet very early on in his life, 13, there was this evil side of him that had to be nurtured or explored. >> reporter: komisarjevsky grew up on a 65-acre estate less than two miles from the petit family. he was adopted as an infant. as a young boy, he says he was brutally raped by another foster child taken in by his family. >> he said that he was forcibly raped.
he made it absolutely clear in his letters to me that it wasn't exposing or fondling or anything like that, that it was -- i believe he said merciless rape. that made him think that all of this religious dogma that he was being force-fed was all garbage. >> reporter: in this letter, mcdonald says komisarjevsky sent him, he details the alleged assault. these are my first memories, i was 5 going on 6. month upon month, my personal hell went unnoticed at the hands of an older foster kid. >> humanity is cruel -- >> reporter: mcdonald reads from the letter where komisarjevsky refers to himself as this child. >> this child raped of his innocence, guilty of silence, dripping in sin, learned at an early age the art of repression. god is all-knowing, all-powerful and did nothing to protect this child. >> reporter: komisarjevsky and hayes, who both have a history of drugs, first met a year and a
half before the crime here at the silliman halfway house in hartford, connecticut. they were roommates for four months. they had gone their separate ways for a while until police say hayes called komisarjevsky. he needed help stealing money. komisarjevsky who mcdonald says has an obsession with young girls spotted 11-year-old michaela petit in the grocery store parking lot with her mother and chose them as their next robbery target. they followed them to learn where they lived. then went home. hours later, komisarjevsky was giving his daughter a bath and reading her a bedtime story. police say hayes then texted him. i'm champing at the bit to get started, need a margarita soon, hayes wrote. komisarjevsky responded -- i'm putting kid to bed, hold your horses. hayes -- dude, the horses want to get loose, l-o-l. >> what kind of fantasies did they have before this?
was this the playing out of some kind of fantasies they had during their life? >> reporter: around 3:00 a.m. the morning of july 23rd, 2007, investigators say komisarjevsky and hayes enter the petit's home through an unlocked door. dr. petit is asleep in a chair downstairs in the sunroom. komisarjevsky, police say, beats him bloody with a baseball bat before both suspects secure his hands and feet and tie him to a pole in the basement. >> he told me he swung the bat as hard as he could. he tried to kill this man before
police say komisarjevsky goes upstairs, surprises the girls and their mother, tying them to their beds. they then search the house for money. around 7:00 a.m., four hours after they entered the house, steven hayes leaves to buy a few jugs of gasoline. that's him paying for it, captured on this security camera video at this gas station about four miles from the house. "in session" reporter, beth karas followed the case. >> they planned to do something with the gasoline or hayes wouldn't have been sent out to get gasoline. >> reporter: when hayes returns, they find a checkbook with reportedly more than a $20,000 balance. with threats, they force mrs. hawke-petit to drive to the bank. you're watching a wife a mother in a desperate attempt to save her family. that's jennifer hawke-petit on this bank security camera video
in the small town of cheshire, connecticut. her husband, beaten, bound and gagged, is being held hostage, along with her two daughters, michaela, 11, and hayley, 17. mrs. hawke-petit tells the bank teller she needs to withdraw $16,000, ransom money. it is 9:17 a.m., she tries to remain calm. one of the two suspects, steven hayes, is waiting outside. the teller alerts the bank manager who quietly calls 911. >> reporter: minutes later, mrs. hawke-petit leaves the bank with the ransom money. police are dispatched to surround the house. they're ordered not to approach the house. it's protocol in a hostage situation, police will explain later. they'll also say they had no reason to believe anyone was in immediate danger. >> i think they get criticized either way.
and i know that this is something that's going to haunt them for the rest of their lives. >> reporter: what police don't know is that joshua komisarjevsky has already sexually assaulted the youngest daughter, michaela. "true crime" author brian mcdonald received letters from komisarjevsky after the attack.
>> of the two men, hayes and komisarjevsky, the picture has been painted based on the evidence that we know about that komisarjevsky was the one who did it more for a thrill. >> reporter: when hayes returns from the bank with michaela's mother, investigators say komisarjevsky insists hayes, quote, get his hands dirty by sexually assaulting mrs. hawke-petit. while police are outside, he rapes and strangles her. by now, it's nearly 10:00 a.m. seven hours of terror. dr. petit recalls a sinister voice shouting to him in the basement, don't worry, it's all going to be over in a couple of minutes. in a burst of adrenaline, the desperate husband and father frees himself from his basement
prison. he crawls to a neighbor's driveway, bleeding badly and calls out for help. by now, nearly 40 minutes have passed since the bank manager called 911. remember the gasoline hayes was seen buying earlier that morning? investigators say the suspects used it to douse the home with the girls tied to their beds. what they do next, according to investigators, is pure evil, nearly impossible to comprehend for the officers outside. >> they hear some screams and then the place goes up in flames. >> reporter: hayes and komisarjevsky attempt to get away in the family's suv. they smash right into the waiting police cruisers. inside, police find jennifer hawke-petit's body on the living room floor. hayley's body is at the top of the stairs.
she'd managed to free herself but collapsed from the smoke. michaela's body was still tied to her bed. >> when you look at how this happened and why and the torment that this family went through and the way they died at the end, in my 24 years in the criminal justice system, this is one of the few cases that gave me a nightmare. >> reporter: after seven horrific hours inside the petit's home, joshua komisarjevsky and hayes are finally taken into custody, charged with sexual assault and murder. dr. william petit, the only survivor, has lost his beautiful wife and his two girls. soon he will face the men accused of killing his family. joshua komisarjevsky and steven hayes face the death penalty for capital murder in
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joshua komisarjevsky and steven hayes face the death penalty for capital murder in the home invasion of the petit family where jennifer hawke-petit was strangled and her daughters left to die in a fire police say the suspects set. komisarjevsky and hayes may have been partners in crime, but they are to be tried separately in new haven superior court. steven hayes first. hayes' lawyer is trying to spare him the death penalty. >> hayes always said that
komisarjevsky injected violence into this, that they were just going to get some money, get some jewelry. >> reporter: public defender thomas allman con saedz in his opening statement, what is known is that steven hayes kills and assaults mrs. petit, adding, no one was supposed to be hurt. >> jennifer hawke-petit wanted to believe that these men who had been holding her and her children and husband hostage for about six hours at that point, from 3:00 in the morning till 9:00 when the bank opened, that they were not going to hurt them. >> reporter: in court, dr. william petit, the only survivor, comes face to face with one of his family's alleged killers. >> i think my testimony stands as truthful testimony. and beyond that, i really don't want to dignify the ravings of a
sociopath who appears to be a pathological liar as well. >> reporter: dr. petit recounts waking up with blood gushing from his head. i felt something warm running down the front of my face, he tells jurors. he told the court the two suspects had a gun. that one said to the other, quote, if he moves, put two bullets in him. next, investigators share what they found on komisarjevsky's cell phone -- images of the sexual assault on petit's youngest daughter. some jurors begin to weep. dr. petit leaves the courtroom. "true crime" author brian mcdonald received 20 letters from joshua komisarjevsky in prison. and interviewed him three times. did he talk to you about taking photos of michaela -- >> yes. >> reporter: what did he tell you about what he did to her? >> he said he took very suggestive pictures of michaela and he was going to use them, he
said, to blackmail dr. petit. >> reporter: on the stand, investigators play out the victims' final hours. some of the most gripping testimony comes from an investigator who testifies hayes had sex with mrs. hawke-petit after he killed her. >> i still can't wrap my head around this. it is evil incarnate. >> reporter: steven hayes' defense lawyer tries to convince the jury his client killed hawke-petit at the request of joshua komisarjevsky. but pages from komisarjevsky's prison diary, misspellings and all, presented in court, seem to suggest otherwise. komisarjevsky writes -- >> reporter: and in a surreal passage, komisarjevsky calls dr.
petit a coward who ran away when he felt his own life was threatened and left his wife and children to die at the hands of madmen. >> his comments about dr. petit are quite interesting and inflammatory. some commentators have suggested that they really are an attempt to traumatize the last person left in the house, to retraumatize him in some way so he could still assert control over him. >> reporter: if these self-described madmen did kill three members of the petit family, the question is why? >> i think he saw michaela that day at the stop & shop get into the mother's suv. i think he followed her home because of that. i think he marked that house because of that. >> reporter: you think she was the target? >> yes. >> reporter: in closing, hayes' defense team told the jury,
things just got out of control. a psychologist testified that hayes was so filled with remorse after the murders, he wanted the state to kill him. after deliberating for four days, a jury gave him his wish and dr. petit met with reporters. >> michaela was an 11-year-old little girl, you know? tortured and killed in her own bedroom, you know? surrounded by stuffed animals. and hayley had a great future. >> reporter: in court, steven hayes was silent as the death penalty was read. komisarjevsky is scheduled to go to trial in january. the house at sorghum hill drive is gone now, reyesed by dr.
i'm trying to find out americans' feelings on the death penalty. >> i'm for it in the most heinous of cases. >> eye for an eye, i think. >> are you familiar with the case in connecticut? >> yes. >> you support it in that case? >> yes. >> life in prison. >> definitely they should be in some kind of prison. >> well, thanks for going out on a limb. >> we've got so many people in jail, that's falsely accused. >> how many people are actually in prison on the death penalty clogging up our system? >> all for it. >> all for it.
>> it's been five days since justice was served in the petit murder case. three days since students riot in london. two days since the passengers on a luxurious carnival cruise got to take a hot shower. we're about to tear through all of it. welcome to "what the week." >> the man behind one of the most terrific crimes in the past decade heading to death row. >> steven hayes -- >> dr. petit even with today's sentences, there is no such thing as closure. >> the hole in your soul is still there. >> president obama in india delivering a message of cooperation, hoping to return with something that americans desperately need -- jobs. >> he flew from india to jakarta. >> former president bush is back
in the spotlight. he's written a book. it's called "decision points." >> i'm going to be dead when they finally figure it out. >> he's back. conan o'brien returning to the air more than nine months after he was booted from the "tonight show." >> everybody's been wondering what the mystery plume off the california coast is. now the pentagon says "we have no evidence to suggest that this was anything other than a contrail." >> we're told about 40,000 students have been demonstrating. >> trying to get in. >> the chairman of the bipartisan deficit commission calling for tax increases. >> it will truly destroy this country. >> veteran day ceremonies. vice president joe biden placing a wreath at the tomb of the unknowns. >> help is arriving for a carnival cruise ship. >> passengers finally starting to get off this thing. >> the president will arrive in japan.
>> the g-20, meeting of the world's economic powers, with no major breakthroughs. >> those are the biggest stories of the week. here are the five things you need to know. number five, after eight months of political stalemate, iraq has a new government. under the deal prime minister nuri al maliki remains in power. the latest word is the speaker of the iraqi parliament is locked in a massive power struggle with none other than nancy pelosi. new rules to protect you from the credit card fees. to recoup that money, some companies tacked new fees onto checking accounts for things like printing checks and mailing out statements that say essentially you're being charged for us mailing out this statement. number three, this week, a european drugmaker says it's developing a pill with a microchip inside. it will eventually track your temperature, heart rate and body movement. there are privacy concerns because the chip broadcasts that info via blue tooth or wi-fi for anyone to see. for those of you taking levitra, there's double worry, because
you've potentially got an antenna. after the printer cartridge terrorist plot, now ink cartridges over 16 ounces are banned from inbound u.s. passenger flights. most people see this as a waste of the tsa's time. and others see this as a last-ditch jab at printers by the powerful pen and pencil lobby. number one, amazon.com got a barrage of complaints after listing this book "the pedophile's guide to love and pleasure." amazon refused to remove it saying it doesn't censure, but guess what, it got taken down. you did it. you see something you don't like, something that isn't right obviously, take action. don't just complain, do something. stand up and do something. you've got a voice. you used it this week. all right. well, every year protesters flip out over the g-20 convention. what are they freaking out over and what is the g-20 anyway? i'll break it down for you next.
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welcome back. let's take a look at this picture. that's the g-20 meeting in south korea this week. talk about a good looking picture. that might even be fridge-worthy. who are these people? why do they meet and how on earth does it affect me and you? it's the subject of today's "you are here." when i hear g-20, all i think of is bingo, and some old lady winning 20 bucks at the vfw. g-20 stands for a group of 20. so who are the 20?
all right. there they are. they're actually really representatives from 19 countries, plus the european union. together they make up 90% of the world's gross national product, 80% of the world trade and two-thirds of the world's population. how long has it been around? the first g-20 meeting was 11 years ago in berlin. now, the first summit with heads of state, that was in 2008. you probably remember this is the group that got together at the height of the financial crisis to try to take steps to prevent another one. so what happened at this g-20 summit? i asked cnn's ali velshi to sum it up. here's what he told me. he said president obama didn't get what he wanted and the participating countries punted on any agreement of anything substantial. the white house said it would trade $10 billion in exports and 70,000 american jobs, but it didn't happen. meaning no jobs. although some critics said it would have been a net loss of jobs. oh, those critics. and speaking of critics, you know, all of those protesters at
all these summits? what's their deal? well, a lot of them believe even though the g-20 include developing nations, it's still only the rich and powerful and all these countries represented at these meetings. where it's no one's job to speak out for the poor. and that's where we are. all right. well, veterans day was thursday. but what does that mean to you? i hit the street to find out, and that is next.
so this week our nation celebrated veterans day by taking off from work, puttering around the yard and maybe catching up on the last seen of "glee." not me, maybe you. do any of us do anything anymore on veterans day to show support our troops. does slapping a yellow ribbon on your car and mailing a package cut it? can i crash your lunch a little bit? what day is today? >> today's thursday. >> mm-hmm. >> veterans day. >> he knew. do you support our troops? >> yes. >> everybody tell me happy veterans day. >> i served in the navy for 20 years. >> what does this day mean to you? >> i've been retired for ten years. but people still come up and say, thank you for serving. that means a lot. >> do you know any veterans? >> yes, i do. >> who? >> for one, me. >> you're a veteran? >> yes, sir.
>> you're 19. >> afghanistan. >> you were in afghanistan? >> six months. >> really? >> what do you need when you're over there? >> anything from home that shows that you have folks back here that actually care about the troops overseas. >> do you think we do enough right now legislatively for veterans coming back from iraq and afghanistan? >> not really. >> no. >> we need to do more. we're not doing anything for them right now. we need to get our veterans out from under bridges living in boxes. >> that's a tough question. >> not really. but can you ever do enough. >> i think we're doing a lot, but there might be something more. >> you're an 18-year-old kid. you barely know anything about life. look at you. you just started shaving. are you joining the military? >> yes. joining the army. >> you're joining the army? good luck to you, man. for your future service. do five push-ups right now. he's joining the military. three, four, five! keep doing them, man.
good luck. thank you. thank you. the truth is, our best intentions and deepest thanks no matter how sincere do little to support our veterans. it requires legislation to protect our returning service men and women. i'm joined by one former serviceman, foreign service officer and marine corps captain. now the director of the afghan study group. the first u.s. official to resign from his position in the state department in protest over the war in afghanistan. matt, you were out there. you served as a military member. you served as a civilian member. you got out. a lot of men and women are still there. and as you've said, a lot of them will never come back. what can we do for the lucky ones, the ones that don't come home in body bags, the ones that carry the war with them mentally and physically long after they leave the battlefield? are we doing enough? >> i don't think so. if you look at the number of
vets unemployed, the number of vets seeking treatment for ptsd, if you look at the fairly shameful voting record of many members of congress on veterans' issues, and the fact that veterans' issues did not come up in the recent midterm elections, i think we have a long way to go to help our vets, and to ensure that they're given the care, treatment and the respect that they deserve. >> matthew, this week we learned that news has leaked that the president and his administration and the pentagon, they're backing off the july 2011 date announced last december, and we could be in afghanistan until 2014. you're the director of the afghanistan study group. i've read the study that you've come out with. what do you think about this latest news, that we could be there a total of, what, 14, 15 years?
what's your assessment of that? >> well, the first thing i think everyone needs to ask is, what does that get us? if we are successful four years from now, in subjugating southern and eastern afghanistan, how does that make us safer, how does it affect al qaeda. look at the evidence of how al qaeda has operated over the last ten years, and you'll see that they're an organization that operates through individuals and small cells that are found around the world. that won't be affected by the presence of our large numbers of our combat troops occupying southern and eastern afghanistan. also, too, we need to consider the cost. if we continue at this tempo, if we continue at this pace, we will be looking at a cost of about 2,500 american and coalition lives, thousands more afghan lives, and roughly half a trillion dollars if we continue at this pace up until 2014. >> why not give this plan, this new leader general petraeus some time to let it work?
>> because the plan is really not that different than what we've been doing for the last five years or so in afghanistan. since 2004, 2005, we've been doing counterinsurgency in afghanistan. if your viewers have not seen the film extreppo, a great film. it shows what life is like for an infantryman in afghanistan. also, you'll see -- they'll see they're doing counterinsurgency and the film was done three and a half years ago. if you look at it, we have increased, and i want to say we, nato, and u.s., have increased troops by a factor of five-fold, since 2005. and every year as we increase troops, literally doubling troops every year in afghanistan for the last five years, all we see is an increase in violence, increase in the taliban, and decrease in support for the karzai government. so this strategy has not been effective.
we've not seen results that have been of benefit, offer have lessened the conflict. so it is time to readjust our strategy. and i'm not saying cut and run, we're advocating for a strategy that will bring about stability in afghanistan. >> matthew, director of the afghan study group. find them online. thanks for your service. happy belated veterans day. great to talk to you. >> thank you. a wide range of ideas to draw down the national deficit. one of the proposed reductions is to cut the military spending by 10%. that's a lot when you think about how much we spend. the cuts will affect our fighting men and women and their mission. here to explain how is michael o'hanlan. he specializes in the u.s. defense strategy, the use of military force. when we talk about defense spending and budget cuts, we're throwing around a lot of big
numbers that can muddle our understanding of the situation. we're a nation at war. humanize these budget cuts for us. what about the people that work in the military and industrial complex here at home? that's a lot of jobs. >> right. great question. and credit to you for getting this debate going so promptly before this full report is even all the way out. i think to answer your question, to try to specify a little bit of where the money goes right now, there are two big chunks of money. as you're probably aware. there's about $550 billion a year, which is essentially the core defense budget. the peacetime budget. just to raise the military, to buy the weapons, to pay the salaries of people who would be in the uniforms of the united states government anyway. whether we were in afghanistan and iraq, or not. then there's another almost $200 billion that we're spending on the wars. including iraq. but mostly now afghanistan. so 550 plus 175. but separate those two pieces.
because the commission that you referred to is really thinking primarily about the first bigger number. the 550. the war debate is a separate debate. about how fast to downsize. obviously it's related. but it's really separate. the 10% cut is from that core, or peacetime budget that's going to be there whether or not we're in afghanistan. and as you say, 10% is a fair chunk. but if we do it carefully, i think that's more or less doable without hurting the people in uniform. if we have to wait, though, for a couple more years to really get it going, because we've got to start downsizing in afghanistan before we can make these cuts in good conscience. >> if you put aside the wars, and that's hard to do, but you hear the right and the left, they both talk about, and you're talking about peacetime, we have military bases in over 100 countries. what about taking some of them, bringing them home? how much would that cut? is it all a reasonable reality in any way? >> it's a great question. but the answer is, you don't save a lot of money unless when they come home they're demobilized and no longer part of the military. i'm not talking about kicking
individual people out. there's a natural attrition rate in the military. a couple hundred thousand people leave per year. all of have to do is reduce the recruiting and you downsize the military without requiring any individual to leave. so i'm not talking about that. but if you disband their unit when they come home, you save a lot of money. if you just bring them back from a base that's already been well established, and sometimes partially paid for by the foreign government, like in japan or germany where we have the two largest nonwartime military presence operations abroad, you don't save that much. you have to reduce the operations themselves, iraq and afghanistan, or reduce the size of the military. or you have to change the way we modernize them through new weaponry. the bases established in peacetime is not going to save you much money. >> not enough time, would love to keep talking to you. this is an issue that's so tough to take a look at for liberals
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each week people do great things. sometimes it makes the news, sometimes it doesn't. i like to give a shout out every week to people doing things that make them way better than me. this is dr. bill hagbaum. one of the doctors and nurses who came out of retirement to volunteer at clinic by the bay, dedicated to treating low-income residents. they could all be crocheting and watching the price is right. instead, they help save lives. doctor, you're way better than me. moving on, this is guy. guy's daughter suffers from schizophrenia. he's running across the country to raise money and awareness for the disease. in 140 days. i run when i'm being chased. guy, you are way better than me. great job. moving on. this is steven kinsey. steven is a 12-year-old battling nonhodgkins lymphoma. he fulfilled his dream last weekend of assisting coaching
the boise state broncos. and the team won. this year i coached my 5-year-old daughter's t-ball team to 0-8 record. but it wasn't my fault. they didn't have their heart in it. i wanted to honor all of our veterans today. my producer ed told me it wasn't possible to show everyone's name and face on the screen. but this is paul, after serving six years in the army as a platoon leader, he now represents soldiers of the nonpartisan, nonprofit iraq and afghanistan veterans of america. a huge thank you to all of our soldiers for the sacrifices they make. so paul, you're representing all of them with your beautiful bald head. and you are all way better than me. speaking of my beautiful bald head, i'm not going to use it as a magic 8-ball. here's what i see this coming